This week I’m going to turn up the heat . . . let’s look at “hot” yoga.

Bikram Yoga is hugely popular and has been for some time. Bikram Yoga is a system of yoga poses designed by Bikram Choudhury, the founder of the Yoga College of India. Bikram has been practised since the 1950s but really only came to prominence in the Western world in the last decade.

Bikram classes run for 90 minutes and consist of a set series of 26 posture positions and breathing exercises. What makes Bikram different to other styles of yoga is that it is performed in a room heated to around 38C, with a humidity of 40 per cent.

Working out in a heated studio has a lot of positive benefits, but there are also certain health risks which you should be aware of. The positive benefits of Bikram Yoga are:

•The heat enables you to gain a deeper stretch, giving you greater flexibility, while reducing stress and tension as well as lowering the chance of injury.

•Stimulates and increases blood circulation enhancing oxygen absorption to muscles, ligaments and tendons.

•Improves overall strength and balance while promoting healthy weight loss.

•Aids in greater posture, concentration and mental clarity, rejuvenating the entire body.

Health risks associated with Bikram Yoga can include:

•Dehydration from excessive sweating.

•Hyperthermia (overheating of the body).

•Other side effects may also include nausea, dizziness and/or fainting and it may affect people with certain heart conditions.

Bikram Yoga provides a challenging environment that increases your strength and cardiovascular endurance, giving you greater stamina and flexibility, but you should seek medical advice before starting if you are pregnant, have heart problems, high blood pressure or are on any form of medication to ensure that working out in high temperatures is safe for you.


© The West Australian

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